“Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. (1 Kings 19:11-13)
Relate: The name “El” is used in the Bible as a generic word similar to “god” in English. Sometimes it refers to the one true God, other times for other gods. Long before this more generic use, however, El was the name of the high god of Canaanite religion. According to Canaanite mythology he had three sons and it was these three sons who were the idols most often worshiped by unfaithful Israelites in Elijah’s time. The oldest of these sons is Baal-Hadad. It is the prophets of this Baal that Elijah had a confrontation with in yesterday’s reading. The second son was Yam. Yam was the god of the sea and the god of chaos. The third son, Mot, is the god of death. He makes an appearance in the Bible twice. The first of these consuming children and youth (Jeremiah 9:21) and the second time Mot swallows peoples and nations (Habakkuk 2:5) The first of these references is especially significant because the Ammonite equivalent to Mot, is frequently referred to in the Bible with the vile practice of child sacrifice by fire (abortion via religion).
Elijah is on the mountainside knowing the Lord is passing by. The storm of winds comes but Elijah recognizes that Baal is not god. The chaos of the earthquake comes, but Elijah recognizes that Yam is not god. The fire of death rages by, but Elijah recognizes that Mot or Molech is not god. Then in the stillness… God. When God shows up, it is not in the way anyone used to the local gods of that time would expect.
React: Life can be full of storms. It is easy to get caught up in the chaos of the day to day hustle. I can become consumed by habits, and addictions… by sin that brings only death. But God is not in that.
We live in a world full of noise. In my early days gave way to discmans which in turn gave way to Ipads. These are now just a function among many on our “smart”phones. I didn’t have even the most basic of cell phones until nearly a year after graduating college and now I can rarely be found without two. The first I call my “American” phone. I keep all my music and books on it. The second, my “Turkish” phone I use for social media, GPS, and of course texting or calling. Having both drains the batteries at half the normal speed. Going unplugged does not seem possible in our generation… yet it is necessary. If we are to hear His still small voice we need to learn to be still.
Father, help me to be still. With so much chaos and confusion, storms and noise, help me to find a moment, a time, a place today and tomorrow and the day after to unplug from the distractions of this world. Speak to me in that still small voice and train my ear to hear and my heart to respond. I want to be so attuned to Your voice that no storm can drown it out.